Blueprint for Innovative Healthcare Access – Meru County, Kenya

The Blueprint for Innovative Healthcare Access - Meru County, led by Amref Health Africa, International Cancer Institute (ICI) and Takeda aims to improve the lives of patients by strengthening the healthcare system for NCDs in the county and surrounding regions.
The Blueprint for Innovative Healthcare Access, is a Takeda initiated concept; to identify and co-create a sustainable blueprint, where healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, governments, NGOs, other industries, healthcare professionals and communities work collaboratively across the whole patient journey to address Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and save lives in low (LICs) and low- and Middle-income countries (LMICs).
Academia or research institute 1
Global NGOs 1
Local NGOs 2
  • The initiative aims to improve the lives of patients by strengthening the healthcare system for NCDs in the county and surrounding regions.

The Blueprint for Innovative Healthcare Access is a proven partnership model, focused on delivery and implementation, and applied in a targeted and measurable way to save and improve the lives of patients with cancer and other Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) – through earlier diagnosis and local access to consistent high-quality treatment and innovative medicines.

The Blueprint for Innovative Healthcare Access is designed to sustainably strengthen healthcare systems at a local level by building a consortium of partners (private sector, governments, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), healthcare professionals and communities) who own and drive delivery at every stage of the patient journey – from awareness and prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment and ongoing patient support, with faster integrated referrals. All of whom come together and work collaboratively as follows:

  • Fully understand the local healthcare environment and identifying the specific challenges or healthcare gaps in each therapeutic area or country.
  • Promote public awareness and education for prevention screening, early detection and treatment through customized campaigns that also address misconceptions and false information
  • Deliver culturally appropriate and customized training programs to increase earlier diagnosis, improve referrals and deliver high quality and consistent local clinical care and ongoing patient support services. This includes using engaging content and innovative digital platforms, mentoring and training of trainers for healthcare providers – from community volunteers, primary healthcare nurses and physicians, through to clinical specialists.
  • Deliver mass screenings for NCDs with timely diagnostic follow-up, including biopsies, radiology (CT scans, X-rays), blood pressure and blood glucose level measurement and ensures the consistent provision of medicines through a digitized stock and supply chain management system, including funding drugs during periods of stockouts.
  • Provide treatment and addressing affordability barriers including enrolling patients onto local healthcare insurance provisions and working with pharmaceutical companies on treatment financing mechanisms
  • Ensure robust data collection, and consistent, transparent and independent measurement to evaluate impact on the lives of patients and to hold all partners accountable. It also ensures NCD surveillance through analysis and reporting – enabling control management of cancer and other NCDs, and the establishment of global best-practice registries.
  • Ensure strong governance, leadership and co-ordination to effectively implement, manage and sustain the project.


Meru County in Kenya was selected as the Blueprint pilot county, launched in 2019 and led by Amref Health Africa, International Cancer Institute (ICI) and Takeda, together with local and regional partners to improve the lives of patients by strengthening the healthcare system for NCDs in the county and surrounding regions.

Results and milestones

As of 1 December 2019, 818 healthcare workers have been trained. Over 500 community health workers were trained by our partners to educate local households on NCDs. Our interventions have taken NCD screening where it is needed, reaching people in accessible venues such as a community sports center. Over 6000 women and men were screened for cancers, and more than 200 people are receiving treatment.

The Blueprint is also alleviating the financial burden of treatment by supporting patients in enrolling into the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF). This helps cushion them against out of pocket cost of buying medication and increases their access to cancer medications. It also supports patients in receiving radiologic investigations like CT and X-rays as well as other routine laboratory tests, while providing transport reimbursement in order for them to attend clinic or chemotherapy sessions.

As part of the Blueprint initiative, the county government of Meru has recruited and employed a full-time medical oncologist to run the oncology clinic at the Meru Teaching and Referral Hospital (MeTRH). This has also led to the elevation of the oncology unit to an oncology department in July 2019. The Blueprint partners are also supporting a medical officer from Meru county with tuition fees to pursue a three-year master’s program in oncology at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Tanzania.

Through the introduction of new partners, the intent is to continue to strengthen the Blueprint for Innovative Healthcare Access in Meru county and expand it to additional counties within Kenya and into the other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Geographic Reach
Disease Area
  • Non-communicable diseases
See Disease Areas
Target Population
  • People with low incomes
Partner organizations
Academia or research institute
Kenya Medical Research

Advocate for establishment of Hospital EMR Systems - Establish 7 hospital-based cancer registries in Meru County and link to the Meru population-based registry and National PBCR platform - Organize Cancer Registrars’ Training (onsite) - Adopt technology (including use of mobile apps) to improve data collection for the Meru PBCR - Establish data sharing and linkages with other EMRs - Generate data on cancer incidence, mortality, survival and trends - Reporting of data: Developing a web portal that is accessible by all stakeholders Utilize cancer registry data for research.

Global NGOs
Amref Health

1. Training and Advocacy Health worker training: Training healthcare workers such as clinicians, nurses and community healthcare workers on diabetes, hypertension, palliative care and patient support and the Integrated Cancer Care Curriculum through mobile and blended platforms. 2. Pre-screening, Screening and Early Detection Identification of the pilot site, and interaction with the National and County Ministry of Health to ensure early diagnosis of cancer, diabetes and hypertension takes place. Also includes assisting with the implementation of the required referral pathways in collaboration with Ampath and Kehpca. 3. Household Data Collection and Referral Mechanisms To contribute to quality health information systems in the country, Amref Health Africa has developed an innovative solution – Mobile Jamii Afya Link (M-Jali) for improving efficiency of health reporting at community level through community health workers. 4. Supply Chain Through a community based access to medicines initiative and leveraging on the existing partners and government agencies we will ensure that the required consumables and medicines are available to treat patients locally with the support of a technology platform.

Local NGOs
Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association

Lead on the training of Primary Health Care givers on Patients Support and palliative care. In line with this, KEHPCA is conducting the following: 1. Creating Awareness and Advocacy: Kehpca will work with Meru Teams to create awareness of Patient Support (PS) and Palliative Care (PC) to the community, healthcare professionals and policy makers. Advocacy at policy level will target Health Strategies and budgets to include patient support and palliative care service in the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) plan for Meru County. 2. Capacity Building and Training. KEHPCA has, and works with a team of PC & PS experts that will be able to conduct training for PHC in Meru County. 3. Strengthening referral systems and service provision including home visits. 4. Supervision/ Mentorship and Technical Support During the period of the project, KEHPCA will provide overall supervision, mentorship and technical support to all sites providing patient support and palliative care. KEHPCA will provide support to sites which will be starting to integrate palliative care and patient support in their services. 5. Sustainability measures of the project. Patient support and Palliative Care is included in the Kenya Health Law; Kenya National Patients'' Right Charter; the current National Cancer Control Program and in the current national NCD Strategy Framework. Therefore, in order to make the project sustainable on the long-term it should naturally be integrated in the health care system at the county levels and at the national levels. Once the advocacy and capacity building for Meru County is completed, it is anticipated that PC will be fully integrated in the county's health care system and supported through the county health budget .

International Cancer

Clinical Care: Screening, Early diagnostics, Treatment and/or Timely Referral & Patient Support Services. Support and deliver specialised education and training programs forming part of the progam. Provide leadership and administration support for the program. Develop an integrated Data Management program of all ongoing cancer services with the existing infrastructure of ICI. Support the efforts to develop a center of excellence in Pathology at MERU County Hospital. Support the development and use of Telemedicine and use of Telepathology services at MERU County Hospital, this will augment all the other components of Pathology which include optimal synoptic histology reporting, Flow Cytometry lab, Immunohistochemistry lab, Morbidity and mortality audits/conferences, Clinico-Pathological Conferences, Tumor Board conferences, Cancer registries amongst other key Pathology engagements.